By Ian Neubauer
The Foster’s Group has issued an announcement to shareholders heralding the resignation of chief human resources officer, Ben Lawrence, effective January 31.
The announcement included a brief biography on Lawrence’s career with the group. “Ben Lawrence joined Foster’s through the acquisition of Beringer Wines in 2000. Ben was appointed to the Foster’s Leadership Team in 2001, where he held responsibility for Foster’s global people and culture strategy.”
Lawrence is quitting the brewer for Wesfarmers, the retail and mining conglomerate that last November acquired the Coles Group. The deal included the Coles Liquor and its 761 off-premise outlets operating under the Liquorland, 1st Choice, and Vintage Cellars brands.
Wesfarmers reciprocated with an announcement of its own. Citing managing director Richard Goyder, the statement said Lawrence’s appointment recognised the need for ASX-listed companies—and therefore Wesfarmers—to invest more heavily in personnel.
“I have said before that probably the greatest challenge facing Australian public companies in the years ahead is the recruitment, development and retention of high quality employees," Goyder said. “As now the country’s biggest private sector employer, human resources is a key factor in our future success and Ben’s appointment is an important part of us addressing this issue.”
Lawrence will commence at Wesfarmers next month, reporting directly to Goyder.